Balak, King of Moab, seeks a cost-efficient means to destroy the Israelites and hires Balaam, wizard extraordinaire, to curse Israel. It’s puzzling that rather than bless his own people, Balak sought to curse another. In today’s world, too often people’s hatred of others is greater than their love of themselves.
In the meantime, every time Balaam the Wizard-For-Hire goes to curse the Israelites, out of his mouth come warm blessings. Balaam is not pleased by his performance that God has caused, and he takes his frustrations out on his donkey–who talks back to him! You can read the dramatic exchange below. As you do, take a look at my tie of the week. You may want to picture in your mind Shrek (voiced by Mike Meyers) as Balaam and the donkey (as voiced by Eddie Murphy)–as the donkey!
21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.
22 And God’s anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of the Lord stood in the way as an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.
23 And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand; and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field; and Balaam struck the ass, to turn it to the way.
24 But the angel of the Lord stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.
25 And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, it pushed itself to the wall, and crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall; and he struck her again.
26 And the angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.
27 And when the ass saw the angel of the Lord, it fell down under Balaam; and Balaam’s anger was kindled, and he struck the ass with a staff.
28 And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and it said to Balaam, What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?
29 And Balaam said to the ass, Because you have mocked me; I wished there was a sword in my hand, for now would I kill you.
30 And the ass said to Balaam, Am not I your ass, upon which you have ridden ever since I was yours to this day? Was I ever wont to do so to you? And he said, No.
31 Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed down his head, and fell on his face.
32 And the angel of the Lord said to him, Why did you strike your ass these three times? Behold, I went out to withstand you, because your way is perverse before me;
33 And the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times; if it had not turned aside from me, surely now also I would had slain you, and let her live.
34 And Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, I have sinned; for I knew not that you stood in the way against me; now therefore, if it displeases you, I will go back again.